With Christmas fast approaching, I thought why not ease you all into the spirit of the holiday with ten chapters from my novel, KRINGLE. Yes! Ten free chapters for you to enjoy running Monday through Thursday until November 16th. Hope you enjoy!
To catch up on the story I’ve added the Links to the end of this post.
My amplified senses had me experience the reindeer’s emotional and physical distress. Comet imagined he had lost his bones. He worried he would lose his home. I gave in to a brief cry. Too brief. I had to be strong. Polartown would be watching Kris and me to gage their responses accordingly. In other words, we needed to keep a lid on it or risk mass hysteria. Unfortunately, we were already close to hysteria before the reindeer became sick.
Like the rest of the world, Polartown has suffered with economic peril. Kringle Enterprises requires capital, not magick, to make toys. If spending is down, we adjust our bottom line like any business. The Woodworks department became our first recession casualty. Together with village council members, Kris and I had brainstormed ways to boost our economy, but by May, seven businesses were for sale. Three more by July. Two more by September.
The Daily Hark Herald reduced to bi-weekly. Noche Buena Cantina closed for dinner. Beth’s Bed-Warming Service, SuperDave’s Fruitcake Factory and Myrtle’s Girdles all posted ‘Closed’ signs. Then, three months ago, an anonymous investor paid cash for ten of the twelve businesses. The writing must have been on the wall for fruitcake and girdles. The Hark Herald again published daily. Noche Buena reopened at night. And though I rejoiced for those able to revive or sell their businesses, I had issues with the investor’s anonymity.
The ‘Santa Clause’ is a cast-iron law which mandates Santa’s hometown be kept secret. Not just anyone can relocate here. Only those born in Grimm County can leave through the portals betwixt our world and the outside without applying for citizenship reinstatement. Noncitizens can enter, but first the S.C. Commission investigates them back to earliest childhood. The Naughty or Nice list and Letters to Santa are reviewed for applicant integrity.
Investigation into the J.J. Rime Corporation revealed a tangled matrix of business dealings, but not one verifiable name. Our council argued we should be grateful for the revenue, and I was. However, I still wanted to pry open that gift horse’s mouth and inspect its tonsils.
From my terrace I saw Flurry Michaels, reporter for WGRM, bundled in dramatic red for the benefit of TV cameras. Unlike Nattie Blather’s deliberate emphasis on ugly and lurid for the Tittle-Tattle, Flurry emphasized hope, though I couldn’t imagine how she would spin it in light of the reindeer poisoning. My attention drifted to a figure crossing the Square. She wore an ornate hat with an old-fashioned veil. My issues with J.J. Rime had solidified when the Mad Hatter Millinery opened in early November with Sandee Hallvaard as proprietor.
Mother Kringle’s first choice to marry her son.
I refer to her as ‘Pecan Sandee’ because she is certifiably nuts. Dr. Havelock labeled her Borderline Personality with a fixation on my husband, and a need to be in his life at any cost. I should have read the fine print on at any cost. Twenty years ago her obsession turned from trying to win Kris back, to trying to kill me. As we left on our honeymoon, Sandee had checked into Coldcare Hospital’s cuckoo’s nest. Upon her release, she was escorted from town.
Two months ago Sandee, a Noncitizen, applied to the S.C. Commission for reinstatement. She had never married, and had devoted her life to couture hats and handbags. With tears in her Betty Boop-a-Doop voice, she had apologized for forcing my snowmobile down the ravine the night before my wedding. Sincerity, in my opinion, never touched her eyes.
Overwhelmed by a sudden hot flash, I shoved my hands into the snow padding my balcony, and then pressed my palms to my neck. I stood for a time, staring at the pink tarp covering my daughter’s twenty-foot ice sculpture. Fear for the reindeer would dampen the ceremony, but Candy would understand. In the Square, a newsboy hawked the latest Tattle. I suspected Candy and Brannoc’s engagement vied with the reindeer’s poisoning for front page titillation. Awhile back Kris tagged Brannoc to replace Scotchie as Production Manager when he retired. Now Kris was out for blood, and woe to anyone who stood in his way. Including me.
Yes. I knew, though scant before he did. Knowing things comes with my role as mother, employer, and Highest Mayor of Polartown. And, to further defend myself, I know things Kris doesn’t because he prefers to play and have fun, rather than deal with the dark side of life.
I knew Naipes in Cards had plagiarized Hallmark when he succumbed to a creative dry spell last month. I knew Fleur in Pomanders feared losing her job because she had no sense of smell. I knew Dunder had a crush on a Six-In-Training reindeer named Nutmeg who pined for Dasher, even though he will forever love Dancer. I also knew Cookie strived for educational excellence because she didn’t consider herself pretty. Some of my knowledge fell in with motherhood, while others came to me because they needed advice or someone to confide in. Me. Not Kris.
Every Santa in history has headed the Santa Claus Commission, and acted as Polartown’s Højeste Borgmester—Highest Mayor—to work with our village council comprised of our town mayor, business leaders, teachers and housewives. The Højeste Borgmester can make Law without sanction from the council, although I never had. ‘Supreme power,’ Kris had spat. Well, that was his fault. The ink not yet dry on our marriage certificate, he’d made me Highest Mayor, claiming the responsibility conflicted with his Santa persona. With Kris nurturing a happy-go-lucky image, who would tell him their problems and expect adult advice? No one! So how dare he snarl because Candy confided in her mom and not her dad? The unfairness of his anger was akin to me being resentful when children wrote letters to Santa Claus, not Mrs. Claus. It was the way things were.
“So grow up, Toy Boy.”
The phone rang. I prayed it was good news.
~ * ~
Holly Kringle has a very full plate. She is Highest Mayor of Polartown and President of Kringle Enterprises–the company that puts the ‘Merry’ in Christmas and the ‘Happy’ in Holidays. She is also the mother of teenagers and wife to Kris Kringle–the World’s Biggest Kid. When the reindeer are poisoned three days before Eve Launch, Holly adds amateur detective to her resume. With just about everyone in Polartown under suspicion, she doesn’t have time to dwell on employee problems, personal family issues, her 50th birthday, or investigate her husband’s highly suspicious behavior. If Dancer dies, her soulmate Dasher won’t want to live without her. And like a pod of whales beaching on the shore, the remaining Famous Eight will surely follow.
10 KRINGLE chapters will post Monday through Thursday until November 16th. Naturally there is my hope that you will be caught up in the story to want to buy the book, either paperback or ebook, and to make it so much more enticing to you, I’ve dropped the prices. Plus every penny of profit will benefit cats from a local colony. All of my fur babies, except for Herman, came from that colony. While I cannot afford to adopt another cat — when I took in Candy, Elly and Chevy over the past 12 months with Els and Chev being FIV+, that brought the Wonderpurr Gang up to 13 — I would never turn away a hungry animal who wanders into my yard, especially in winter.
Hope that sounds enticing to you Christmas novel readers. And if it does, I have created three ways for you to purchase KRINGLE, if you so desire.
KINDLE eBooks – If you enjoy ebooks, KRINGLE is available on Kindle for $3.99 with a generous royalty profit of $2.73 for the kitties.
Amazon.com – You can purchase the paperback for $7.95 where the royalty is .54 (grrr) and shipping is about $4.59.
CREATESPACE – I’ve set up a Createspace store specifically for KRINGLE readers. There the book is priced at $7.95 with a royalty of $2.13 and standard shipping is about $3.59.
I hope you enjoy the ten free chapters. And if you do, please tell your friends. Better yet…buy a book, either as a gift for yourself, or for someone on your gift list who enjoys campy, funny, holiday mysteries.
Love to you all!
Kim, Herman, Dori
and the Wonderpurr Gang